Top 15 Online Associate’s Degrees

Are you looking for online associate’s degrees?… Programs that will get you the best return on your money? If you need a few ideas on how to get into the workforce fast… earn your associate degree online. Take a look below!

Education is Valuable… At Any Level

Never underestimate the value of education… at any level. This is a time of unparalleled scrutiny on the value of higher education. Is it worth the money some schools charge? Well, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report, there were 99 occupations that typically required less than a bachelor’s degree and saw median annual wages of over $48,000 in May 2020 with only an associate degree.

Previous Work Experience?… Maybe or Maybe Not

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that with many of the high-wage associate’s degree level jobs, previous work experience or on-the-job training in a related occupation is not always required. However, earning an associate degree online is a great way to expand your current skills and learn new ones… which look excellent on your resume.

Quick Summarization:
After high school, many are faced with life decisions, such as finding a job or which college degree they should pursue. Entering the workforce to make a living is everyone’s primary concern; however, there are so many options available. Perhaps for the best start, you should consider earning your online associate’s degree in a topic that interests you the most. Upon graduation, you are set with the skills you need to obtain an entry-level job!

online associates degree


What follows are some of the best (in terms of a return on your investment) online associate degrees.

In addition, you may also want to consider that many organizations perform their own training, such as a police academy or the Federal Aviation Administration. In such cases, a formal degree program may not be required; however, earning an associate degree in the field is a great stepping stone to bigger and better things.

With an associate degree program completed, you can transfer your credits to a bachelor’s degree program for career advancement or management positions… Something to keep in mind!

The following trades provide higher salaries with minimum educational requirements to begin your career, such as an online associate degree.

To learn more, see our Methodology page.

Top 15 Careers That Require Online Associate’s Degrees AND Provide Lucrative Salaries

Police and Detectives

Are you interested in serving the public? If so, becoming a policeman or policewoman may be the career for you. In addition, detectives are also committed to protecting the public. As they gather facts and put the bad guys in jail, today’s law enforcement personnel must be knowledgeable in all aspects of the proper ways to arrest perpetrators in a safe and legal way.

Generally, a high school diploma will suffice for this position; however, an online associate degree in criminal justice will help you get the job promotion or leadership position you desire.

Electrical Engineering Technician (EET)

Although it is an occupation in a slow-growing field, BLS predicts few changes in employer needs over the next 10 years. That’s a good thing. Electrical and electronics engineering technicians help engineers design and develop computers, communications equipment, medical monitoring devices, navigational equipment, and other electrical and electronic equipment.

Oftentimes, you’ll work in product evaluation and testing, using measuring and diagnostic devices to adjust, test, and repair equipment. It’s interesting work. Generally, an associate degree will suffice.

Diagnostic Medical Sonography

Since the work is very precise…and in some cases (many, actually) can save lives, these techs are well compensated. Diagnostic medical sonographers, cardiovascular technologists and technicians, including vascular technologists, operate special imaging equipment to create images or conduct tests.

These images and test results help physicians diagnose medical conditions. Some technologists even assist physicians during surgical procedures. Locate an online associate’s degree program in sonography today!

Computer Science/Web Developers

The upside of this profession is enormous. Pure and simple: Web developers design and create websites. They are responsible for the look of the site. They are also responsible for the site’s technical aspects, such as performance and capacity, which are measures of a website’s speed and how much traffic the site can handle.

With online associate degree programs, web developers learn to create content for the site. When you’re hot, you’re hot and a good web developer can make a fortune…all on an associate’s degree.

Occupational Health and Safety

You might need a bachelor’s degree to get a job in the field of occupational health and safety. But sometimes, an associate degree program can suffice for occupational health and safety specialists. Their job is to analyze many types of work environments and work procedures.

Specialists inspect workplaces for adherence to regulations on safety, health, and the environment. They also design programs to prevent disease or injury to workers and damage to the environment. Interesting work. Well paid.

More about Associate Degrees: The Most Valuable Associates Degrees Online

Dental Hygienist

That dental hygienist who cleans your teeth twice a year probably has an associate’s degree. He or she also is qualified to clean teeth, examine patients for signs of oral diseases such as gingivitis, and provide other preventative dental care.

One other thing dental hygienists can do is educate patients on ways to improve and maintain good oral health. Work schedules are usually daytime hours, often four days a week. You can earn a portion of your degree online!

Funeral Service Worker

Becoming a funeral service worker requires compassion and dedication to helping others work through their grief as they prepare to honor their loved ones. In this position, you would be responsible for the arrangements as you prepare for the service. Funeral service workers are often on call at all times, including weekends and nights.

An online associate degree in funeral service or mortuary science is preferred. Passing a licensing exam may be required in your state as well. Although the BLS reports a decline in job growth, the funeral business often depends on the client’s personal preference, such as burial or cremation. The recent pandemic has yielded an uptick in the funeral business. Associate degree programs in this field are ideal for beginners who are interested.

Air Traffic Controller

Air traffic controllers maintain safety in the skies as travelers jet-set around the world. They direct the traffic in the air, as well as direct ground traffic, keep an eye on the weather, alert staff to emergencies, and much more. An associate degree is often required, in addition to proper training from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Work hours can vary greatly, including weekends and holidays, and are regulated by the FAA. Although the BLS predicts a slower-than-average job growth rate, rest assured that as the recent pandemic continually decreases, travel by air will increase exponentially. You can complete some of your training through online degree programs; however, on-site instruction is also required.

Radiation Therapist

If you know someone who has had cancer, you are familiar with the importance that the radiation therapist plays in a patient’s recovery. They are tasked with administering radiation treatments and overseeing the care of cancer patients. Associate degrees are often required.

Radiation Therapists work closely with oncologists, physicians, and other radiation therapists. Safety regulations are required when working in this field, they usually work in a clinical setting and can enjoy regular work hours since most treatments are scheduled.

Food Service Managers

Food service managers are tasked with the day-to-day operations of running a restaurant, managing personnel, and providing excellent customer service. In addition to restaurants, food management is also required in school cafeterias, motel/hotel resorts, and spas.

They often work nights, weekends, and holidays. Is an associate degree really necessary? Most managers in this field have obtained a high school diploma; however, to earn the most dollars, earning a degree in the culinary arts or in business management is certainly helpful. Also, for that job promotion, you can earn an associate degree in hospitality management.

Aircraft Maintenance Technician

All modes of transportation go through cycles of required maintenance to keep them in tip-top shape and working efficiently. This is especially crucial with airplanes. Unlike cars that can stop on the side of the road, mechanical problems on airplanes often turn deadly.

Aircraft maintenance technicians work behind the scenes to prevent these from happening. They perform a wide range of scheduled maintenance and any needed repairs on all aircraft systems, from avionics/computers, to engines, controls, and much more. Aircraft maintenance technicians work in a variety of settings, as part of airlines, in specialized service providers, or in the military. 

A minimum requirement to get into this field is typically an associate’s degree, often given by institutions certified by the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA), although further bachelor-level education in related disciplines like engineering often proves useful. A lot of required specialized knowledge is also given through on-the-job training.

Film/TV Camera Operator

Whether you watch movies and videos or regularly tune in to your favorite TV Channels, everything you watch is the work of an army of camera operators. These people work as part of a much larger media production team, typically under the guidance of a director, a producer, and a director of photography, among others. 

TV cameras for broadcast are often one-man pieces of equipment, while complex film camera setups typically require a team. Camera operators can also choose to focus on a specialized camera system such as Steadicam, or in drone-based camera systems. The entry requirement for TV camera operators is often a bachelor’s degree in photography, however, there are institutes that offer online associate degrees in photography.

Surveying Technician

The house/apartment we live in, our workplaces, our parks, places for entertainment, the farms where our food is grown, essentially the entirety of our built environment is built on a system of measurements. This work is an unending one since we always make changes and developments around us. This work is typically undertaken by a team of surveyors and surveying technicians. 

They gather various data points about the land surface that are used as a basis of information in various developments in real estate, infrastructure, and more. Surveying technicians work under the guidance of a lead surveyor and spend the majority of their work hours out in the field taking measurements.

Surveying technicians are trained to work with a variety of equipment and systems that are used in data gathering, processing, managing, and presentation, often as maps and technical drawings.

Lead Surveyors typically require a minimum of an engineering-related Bachelor’s degree and have a higher annual wage, but surveying technicians can gain entry into the field through an associate’s degree, together with additional on-the-job training. 

Broadcast Technician

Are you pursuing a career in the exciting field of the broadcast industry? Working as a broadcast technician will be an ideal job for you. As broadcast technicians, you will be responsible for the smooth operation of television, radio, and other broadcast programs by installing, setting up, testing, operating, and repairing electronic equipment. Your key job is ensuring that radio and television programs reach listeners and viewers flawlessly. 

While it can be a demanding job as you might be required to work around the clock, it still has its many perks. You can earn salaries on the higher end of the spectrum if you land a job in the motion picture or sound recording industry. Earning an associate’s degree in broadcast technology and related fields can be your gateway to this field. You can earn one online! 


If you have a desire to meet and serve the library’s user community, then a job as a librarian will be perfect for you. Librarians possess essential skills such as analytical thinking, initiative, independent judgment, computer literacy, administrative decision, task delegation, verbal communication, leadership, and positive attitude, among others.

This field offers different roles within the community. You can be a public librarian, school librarian, library technician, library assistant, or specialty-focused librarian. 

An associate’s degree in library science can be a good foundation for a rewarding career in this field, leading you to a wealth of career and educational opportunities. While the minimum educational requirement is a master’s degree, an associate degree can help you acquire the basic skills and knowledge to attain a bachelor’s degree and eventually a master’s degree. 

The associate’s degree program will teach you how to manage and organize information and materials. You can boost your educational qualifications by gaining relevant work experience in the field such as getting positions in your college or university library. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an Associate degree?

Earning an online associate degree is a great way to get some college education under your belt, which is often needed or preferred by employers. An associate’s degree program at this undergraduate level will allow you to obtain the skills needed to get you out into the workforce fast.

In addition, if you are so inclined, you can transfer your credits to a bachelor’s degree program to further your credentials and increase your chances of earning more money and obtaining a leadership position or a job promotion, at the very least.

What are the best fields for earning an Associate degree that will yield the best end results for me?

Some popular associate’s programs are found in the fields of:

  • Liberal arts and science, general studies, and humanities
  • Health-related professions
  • Business, management, marketing
  • Culinary Arts
  • Engineering Technologies
  • Law enforcement, firefighting, homeland security
  • Computer-related services
  • And many more!
Do most employers require an Associate degree to fill their positions?

That solely depends on your career choice. Obviously, some career selections require a more in-depth education than others. There are many jobs that barely require a high school diploma; however, with additional education, you can increase your salary potential… which is often the name of the game, right?

The recent studies reported that, as of 2022, the difference in salaries between those with a high school diploma and those who had earned an associate degree was approximately $8,000 annually. So, will earning an associate degree help you? Yes!

Associate degree vs bachelor’s degree: What’s the difference?

Pursuing a college degree can be overwhelming, especially if you can’t quite decide what’s right for you just yet. Many choose a community college as it can be cheaper and less time-consuming. This means that you can earn an associate’s degree first, as this will help you prepare for a specific career. However, earning a four-year degree can give you better career opportunities.

This begs the question: what really spells the difference between an associate’s degree and a bachelor’s degree? An associate’s degree contains courses that help you prepare for jobs in the technical or occupational fields. Typically, it can take 2 years to complete. 

On the other hand, a bachelor’s degree requires around 120 credit hours for the coursework. It is considered the minimum educational level requirement for many entry-level jobs. You may need to spend 4 years to complete a bachelor’s degree. 

Should I stop at having an Associate Degree?

Generally, an Associate’s Degree is considered an industry entry point that is higher than a high-school diploma. However, most industries require further training to have a good chance at advancing one’s career, such as continuing one’s Associate Degree into a Bachelor’s Degree.

In a personal and practical sense, meanwhile, it wouldn’t hurt to keep learning all throughout one’s career. If one has the available time, opportunity, and resources, it would be good to have additional Associate’s Degrees or proficiency certificates or other higher forms of further studies. Having a wide skillset not only means having better-informed work-related decisions but also gaining a sense of personal satisfaction that comes from knowing more.

Can I earn an Associate degree online?

Yes, you can earn an associate degree online. Many colleges and universities offer online associate degree programs in a variety of disciplines, such as business, healthcare, technology, and more. Online associate degree programs are typically self-paced, allowing you to complete your degree at your own pace.

However, if your chosen career choice requires a hands-on approach, some on-campus attendance will be required.

Key Points to Ponder

  • What are your career goals? Sometimes, deciding on a particular career path can be difficult. An associate degree program is a great starting point for those who are yet unsure of their future career selection. Get an associate degree for the best job opportunities!
  • Associate degrees are available as Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, or Associate of Applied Science degree options.
  • Online associate degree programs make it a really convenient way to earn your degree while you hold down a full-time job… if you need to while earning your degree.
  • Associate degree holders can easily obtain entry-level job positions in whichever field they choose, with an option (in most cases) to transfer credits into a bachelor’s program if needed.
  • The right associate degree program for prospective students should be properly accredited for the best results. So, do your research!
  • Most associate degree programs will only take students two years to complete; however, accelerated associate degrees can take less.
  • There are many associate degree programs available in almost any type of career choice; however, don’t forget to check into trade schools, which also culminate into a certification or associate degree program.
  • An online associate program can provide quality education for those interested in early childhood education, computer programming, radiation therapy, dental hygienists, human development, paralegal studies, information systems, and business administration, to name a few.
  • If you desire higher education, earn an associate degree today to begin your bright future! Is earning an associate degree worth it? Absolutely!

For more information on Associate Degree Programs, see:

Malcolm Peralty
Chief Editor